This practice is about developing a research roadmap and a portfolio of projects that are relevant to the industrial sector(s) targeted by a specific SRC.
The industry driven research programming in strategic research centres (SRCs) is about developing a: (1) a research roadmap and (2) a portfolio of projects that are relevant to the industrial sector(s) targeted by the SRC.
The resources required are mainly the working hours from local stakeholders (SRC and industry), and the cost of involving international advisors from industry and academia.
Main success factors are:
• no single party or group of parties should be dominant in the decision processes (e.g. industry vs. academia);
• not only parties that are already directly involved in the existing or future project portfolio should be involved. Also other interested parties and visionaries from both industry and academia need to be heard;
• stakeholders should feel comfortable to express their opinions freely. Procedures and communication channels should be put in place not to stigmatise the parties bringing negative advice. Negative advices should be taken seriously;
• the programming process should result in concrete and relevant results for all stakeholders involved. This implies that the research priorities need to be reviewed regularly, and that sufficient budgets are available to set up the most promising projects. It also requires that the project development process is sufficiently flexible to adapt proposals to suit the needs.
Strictly speaking, no funding is required for the programming process. However, it requires some resources from the SRC (typ. research managers and business developers already in place) and industry (mainly in-kind).
Evidence of success
The relevance of the research roadmap and projects portfolio is witnessed from:
• growing industrial membership of the SRCs;
• large number of project ideas launched by both academia and industry, available budgets are spent completely;
• significant cash contribution of industry in resulting projects ;
• significant in kind contribution of industry during programming and project development process;
• e.g. the success of ICON project type for SRCs (see other GP from FI&E).
• translating industrial needs into concrete research questions and vice versa
• sharing sensitive information between stakeholders during the process
• safeguard openness & periodical renewal of the roadmaps
• reluctance to gear research agenda towards regional industrial relevance
Potential for learning or transfer
The programming process provides mainly indirect support, for the setup of relevant projects. Figures are only available for the resulting ICON projects for Flanders (numbers from 2009 - 2015):
• research organisations: 17
• companies: 477
• projects: 155
The programming process use a very trans-disciplinary approach: this process provides a framework where different stakeholders along the innovation chain contribute to an industrially relevant research framework and roadmap that overcomes the ad-hoc nature of regular funding programmes in Flanders. Regular programs are open to all innovative ideas and thus do not generate a coordinated projects portfolio that is beneficiary to a broader audience than just the beneficiaries of the single NMP-related projects.
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